A RECENT paper by Wilson1 suggests that ‘thermal’ surges of the Antarctic ice sheet led to the growth of large ice shelves in the Southern Ocean, and that these shelves cooled the Earth sufficiently to cause glaciations in the northern hemisphere. That the southern hemisphere may dominate the northern in this way is the antithesis of a suggestion in an earlier paper2 by me. However, both that paper2 and a later one3 do discuss the possibility of large thermal surges in Antarctica (see especially ref. 2, 185; ref. 3, 312), and since these papers were published I have been examining the further possibility that the surges act as ‘triggers’ for northern glaciation. The theoretical results of this examination, which will be published elsewhere, are inconclusive: the ice shelf theory for glaciation involves so many glaciological, oceancgraphical and meteorological assumptions that it may be impossible to justify all of them. It is the purpose of this communication to suggest how field evidence may be used to test the theory. Really convincing tests will probably require contributions from field workers in every part of the world.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution
Subscribe to this journal
Receive 51 print issues and online access
$199.00 per year
only $3.90 per issue
Rent or buy this article
Get just this article for as long as you need it
Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout
Wilson, A. T., Nature, 201, 147 (1964).
Hollin, J. T., J. Glac., 4, 173 (1962).
Hollin, J. T., J. Glac., 4, 312 (1962).
Cameron, R. L., and Goldthwait, R. P., Intern. Union. Geod. Geophys., Intern. Assoc. Sci. Hydrology, Pub. 55, 7 (1961).
Nichols, R. L., Polar Record, 10, 401 (1961).
Howorth, H. H., Mammoth and the Flood (London, 1887).
West, R. G., Proc. Geol. Assoc., 74, 147 (1963).
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
HOLLIN, J. Origin of Ice Ages: an Ice Shelf Theory for Pleistocene Glaciation. Nature 202, 1099–1100 (1964). https://doi.org/10.1038/2021099b0
This article is cited by
Wilson's Theory of Ice Ages
By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.